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Daily Herald's 2016 Season Coverage
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updated: 8/23/2016 11:57 AM

Could WSC be even better than last year?

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  • Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comGlenbard West varsity football's D.J. Ficarella.

    Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comGlenbard West varsity football's D.J. Ficarella.

 
 

One champion won the Class 7A title while the other came three points shy of reaching the Class 6A final.

Just another season of football in the West Suburban Conference.

Glenbard West extended its Silver Division winning streak to 30 straight last year and rolled to the Class 7A championship. Hinsdale South became the fourth team in as many years to sit atop the Gold standings, and the Hornets used that as a springboard through the 6A bracket.

Both teams look to keep the momentum going.

"We don't talk about the streak a lot, but I sure remember our last loss in 2010 to Lyons," said Hilltoppers coach Chad Hetlet, whose program has won at least a share of the last eight Silver titles. "I really think it's a tossup between maybe four teams."

Glenbard West remains atop the list of favorites despite significant graduation losses, including record-breaking running back Sam Brodner, now at Wisconsin. This year's team will be led early by an experienced defense, where six starters return headed by safety Jackson Goleash and lineman Dionte Moorehead.

Running back D.J. Ficarella is one of four returning starters on offense. Once again, the Hilltoppers will be a handful for the rest of the Silver challengers.

"Every year it's the same thing...until someone knocks off Glenbard West, they're the team to beat," said Hinsdale Central coach Dan Hartman. "We have the talent, but we need to be mentally tough to pull out those big games."

With Columbia-bound quarterback Josh Bean and Ball State-bound linebacker Dorion Pollard, Hinsdale Central definitely has the talent to compete for the Silver title. Oak Park quarterback Jeremy Hunt and Lyons Twp. quarterback Ben Bryant, offered by Wisconsin, also have their teams thinking about unseating Glenbard West.

As York and Downers Grove North join the many teams trying to survive the tough Silver field, nearly everyone in the WSC Gold plans to scramble for that division's title.

"The thing I like about the Gold is that it's so competitive," said Hinsdale South coach Mike Barry. "If you just go after one team it could bite you. You always have to keep the big picture in mind."

Hinsdale South is determined to be one of the rare teams to defend the Gold title in recent years, but the bulk of last season's blistering offense graduated. Receiver Destin Talbert and running back Shawn Wimberly look to restore the explosiveness, while linebacker Deontae Curry is back to power the defense.

Willowbrook finished second in the Gold in three of the last four years. Bolstered by two-way standouts Jon Kelso, Kevon Dobbins and Jack Jessen, the Warriors hope to vault to the title.

"I think everybody overall is better this year," said Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth. "Our goal is to be in the mix for the title. That's the expectation every year."

With returning receiver Stevan Jones and running back-receiver Darrion Conrad, Addison Trail's focus shifts to offense while a young defense gets up to varsity speed. Downers Grove South is energized by a junior class that went unbeaten at the sophomore level.

Another Gold team to keep an eye on is Leyden, which returns quarterback Michael Wilms and receiver Jalen Moore, committed to Southern Illinois.

"I think the Gold is better than it's been in years, and last year showed it," said Addison Trail coach Paul Parpet Jr. "It's not going to be easy for any of us."

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit

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